A “massive problem” in recruiting staff is to blame for standards of grass cutting in York, the council’s environment chief said.
Coun Paula Widdowson said grass verges had grown too much at the time of the first cut and that the council had apologised to residents.
Osbaldwick and Derwent councillor Mark Warters asked the executive member for the environment and climate change at a meeting of full council if she would “apologise for the state of the streets this year”.
“Grass cutting especially has been an absolute disgrace,” Coun Warters said.
He added that the council “seemed very adept at cutting wildflower areas and leaving residential verges to grow unchecked”.
York resident Gwen Swinburn has raised the issue of “sporadic and shameful grass cutting”, as has former council leader Steve Galloway.
Coun Widdowson said: “The verges got much longer than they should have done in the first cut. Since then, everywhere else in the city has received a further two cuts
“Communication went out apologising to the residents that we were late in the first cut.” Coun Widdowson said there had been one area of wildflowers that had been cut accidentally by someone who was new and “thought he was doing the right thing”.
She added: “There’s a process in place now, which has made sure that everybody is more trained, there’s the contractor that we have brought because of the resource issue and the overtime that has been put in place so that we can make sure that the issue is addressed. “Everybody’s working hard to make sure the city looks as well as it can look.”
In June, a council report said it had been a “challenging start” to the grass cutting season but that the picture was “slowly improving”.
The report added: “We have trained additional staff on the ride-on machines and the teams are catching up with their scheduled cuts.
“However, as a result of the challenges we experienced in relation to staffing and the growing season we have had, some grass has got quite long before being cut.
“Therefore, when the teams are cutting the verges, it is sometimes difficult for the machines to cut through the grass and a rather clumpy finish can happen.”